Wes Anderson’s eighth feature film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, releases this Friday and so far has been positively received (Vince’s review). The film’s IMDB page lists about half of Hollywood in the cast, with Ralph Fiennes in the starring role as a hotel concierge trying to prove his innocence after being framed for murder. If you like Wes Anderson movies, you’ll probably love it, and if you’re not a fan of Wes Anderson’s work, then why are you even reading this?
To celebrate what’s sure to be another eccentric entry into Wes Anderson’s body of film, here are 25 facts you might not know about his other movies. Now with 25% more Murray!
1. Bill Murray paid for the helicopter scene in Rushmore. How the helicopter scene in Max’s Vietnam War-themed play cost $25,000, I have no idea, but it did and Disney didn’t want to front the cost for it. Being the awesome human being that he is, Murray wrote Anderson a check to cover the costs.
2. Bottle Rocket almost forced Owen Wilson into the military. Owen Wilson helped write the movie, but initially had no plans to act in Bottle Rocket. After the movie bombed horribly at the box office, Wilson was convinced he had no future in entertainment and seriously considered enlisting in the Marines.
3. That’s not Ben Stiller’s hand with the lodged BB in The Royal Tenenbaums. It’s actually the brother of Owen and Luke Wilson, Andrew Wilson. When they were kids, Owen shot Andrew in the hand with a BB gun and the BB has been stuck there ever since.
4. Creating the jaguar shark for The Life Aquatic was no easy task. At eight feet long, the jaguar shark was one of the largest stop-motion puppets ever made for a film. The shark required five hand-cranked controls to operate its swimming function. The song “Starálfur” by Sigor Rios was used during Steve Zissou’s second encounter with the jaguar shark, but for whatever reason did not make it onto the film’s soundtrack album.
5. Bottle Rocket producer James L. Brooks was worried about Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson’s work ethic. After a shorter version of the film caught the attention of James L. Brooks at the Sundance Film Festival, Brooks helped Wilson and Anderson get financial backing from Columbia Pictures for a feature film version. Brooks was concerned about Wilson and Anderson’s work ethic though as they never took notes during meetings. After buying them plane tickets from Texas to Los Angeles, Owen Wilson tried to exchange his plane ticket for a bus ticket in hopes of pocketing the extra cash.
6. Rushmore hinted at The Life Aquatic. The book that Max is reading in the movie is Diving For Sunken Treasure by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Cousteau of course would provide the main inspiration for Wes Anderson’s 2004 film, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.
7. Bill Murray didn’t take the Rushmore part for money. When Bill Murray takes a role on a Wes Anderson film, it’s never for the money. For his part in Rushmore Murray took home $9,000 and jokingly details in the clip below that working with Wes often involves long hours for little cash and some stale bread.
8. Indian director Satyajit Ray’s portrait can be seen in The Darjeeling Limited. The film was dedicated to Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray who’s portrait can be seen hanging above Owen, Jason, and Adrian while riding on The Bengal Lancer.
9. The bullhorn parenting in Moonrise Kingdom was based on Roman Coppola’s childhood. The bullhorn that Mrs. Bishop uses to call her children was based on a practice used by co-writer Roman Coppala’s mother when he was a child.
10. Margot’s cigarettes in The Royal Tenenbaums haven’t been made since the 1970s. I’d imagine being the prop master on a Wes Anderson film has to be one of the most irritating jobs in showbiz. Take Margot’s cigarettes for example, the brand she smoked were only ever sold in Ireland and were discontinued in the 1970s. Anderson specifically wanted this brand of smokes because it correlated with the 70s theme of the film and made Margot’s secret smoking habit that much stranger.
11. Fantastic Mr. Fox replaced curse words with just “cuss.” Dialogue that called for cursing was replaced with the alternative of “cuss” including graffiti on a spray painted wall. In an interview on Fresh Air, Anderson explained the benefit of this: “I don’t even remember. It think it was just to use the concept of profanity as a replacement for profanity itself. It turned out to be very versatile.”
12. The score from The Royal Tenenbaums appears in The Life Aquatic. The music that plays when Steve Zissou gives the tour of his boat is the score from The Royal Tenenbaums, only played in reverse.
13. The Life Aquatic is both a tribute to Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Harry Belafonte. So French sea explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s ship was the Calypso, Zissou’s ship is named The Belafonte and Harry Belafonte was known for singing popularized versions of Calypso songs. During the scene where Zissou is introduced to the Italian audience there is a model of Cousteau’s ship the Calypso on his desk, only painted blue instead of black.